Troy Davis put to death
September 21st, 2011
11:50 PM ET

Troy Davis put to death

Georgia inmate Troy Davis was executed Wednesday night for the 1989 murder of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police officer.

Davis died at 11:08 p.m. ET, according to a prison official. The execution was about four hours later than initially scheduled, because prison officials waited for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Davis' request for a stay.

After 10 p.m. ET, the Supreme Court, in a brief order, rejected Davis' request. His supporters had sought to prevent the execution, saying seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony.

Below are the developments as they happened. Read the full story here.

[Updated at 11:50 p.m.] Jon Lewis of WSB radio, one of the execution witnesses, gave this account of the minutes before Davis' death:

After the warden read the execution order and asked whether Davis had anything to say, Davis - strapped to a gurney - lifted his head up and looked at the witness area's first row, which was where MacPhail's relatives and friends sat.

“(Davis) made a statement in which he said ... 'Despite the situation you're in, (I) was not the one who did it.' He said he was not personally responsible for what happened that night, that he did not have a gun. He said to the family that he was sorry for their loss, but also said that he did not take their son, father, brother.

"He said to them to dig deeper into this case, to find out the truth. He asked his family and friends to keep praying, to keep working, to keep the faith. And then he said to the prison staff, the ones he said 'are going to take my life,' ... ‘May God have mercy on your souls,’ and his last words to them (were), 'May God bless your souls.'"

Another witness, reporter Rhonda Cook of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, also gave quotes from Davis. According to her, Davis said: "The incident that night was not my fault. I did not have gun."

"And that’s when he told his friends to continue the fight and 'look deeper into this case so you can really find the truth,'" Cook said.

Davis also said, according to Cook: "For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls."

Davis said to the MacPhail family, according to Cook: "I did not personally kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent."

Hours earlier, Davis declined what the prison offered him as a final meal, Cook said.

[Updated at 11:12 p.m.] Davis has been executed, a prison representative has said. The time of death was 11:08 p.m. ET.

[Updated at 10:55 p.m.] Davis' execution is expected to begin between 11:05 to 11:10 p.m. ET, the Georgia Department of Corrections says.

[Updated at 10:36 p.m.] People who'd been protesting for hours across the street from the prison where Davis will be executed are chanting, "We are Troy Davis," CNN's David Mattingly reported.

[Updated at 10:21 p.m.] The U.S. Supreme Court has denied Davis' motion for a stay of execution.

Word of the Supreme Court's decision comes more than three hours after Davis was scheduled to be executed, and more than four hours after Davis' attorneys had filed the motion.

With the ruling, Georgia is expected to proceed with Davis' execution.

[Updated at 10:07 p.m.] The daylong gathering across the street from the prison by Davis' supporters has turned into a candlelight vigil, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports. Hundreds still are waiting for a resolution. Some are praying, and some others are singing.

[Updated at 9:41 p.m.] The Rev. Raphael Warnock said he was standing with Davis' relatives on the grounds of the prison when they heard the execution wouldn't happen at the scheduled time.

"I was standing with the family at about 7 p.m. By that time, of course, naturally, we were expecting the worst," Warnock, a pastor to Davis' family, told CNN's Piers Morgan. "Suddenly we began to hear cheers from the crowd across the way, and the word came that the execution had been delayed.

"Certainly we're glad that Troy Davis is still alive, but we are still witnessing, in my estimation, a civil right violation and a human rights violation in the worst way unfold before our very eyes. This is Troy Davis’ fourth execution date. I’m glad that he’s alive, but that in and of itself is cruel and unusual punishment. America can do much better than this."

Asked if Davis had had what would have been offered as a last meal, Warnock indicated that Davis might have skipped it.

“I do know that on the last time he received an execution warrant, he refused his last meal," Warnock said. "I spoke earlier tonight with his nephew ... and he said his uncle would refuse his last meal again today. He has continued to insist that this is not his last meal. I must say to you that he evinces a faith that is just amazing, even to me as his pastor."

[Updated at 9:05 p.m.] The number of police officers standing outside the Georgia prison housing Davis has risen to more than 100, CNN's David Mattingly reported. The officers are watching protesters, who've been across the street for hours.

The crowd has been orderly, Mattingly said. While it had been chanting for much of the day, they're "probably as quiet as I’ve heard them all night," Mattingly reported.

[Updated at 8:55 p.m.] Dozens of people have gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., in support of Davis, footage from CNN affiliate WJLA shows.

Still no ruling from the court on Davis' request for a stay of execution.

[Updated at 8:39 p.m.] This video report from CNN's David Mattingly, made about 40 minutes ago, shows the people who've been protesting across the street from the prison where Davis is being held, and the police officers in riot gear who are in front of the prison, watching the protesters.

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 8:19 p.m.] The mother of the police officer that Davis was convicted of killing told CNN's Anderson Cooper that she is "absolutely devastated" that the execution has yet to happen.

“I’m absolutely devastated because I want it over with. ... They’ve been through the courts four times there in Georgia. They’ve been to the Supreme Court three times," Anneliese MacPhail said in an interview from her home, referring to previous delays. "This delay, again, is very upsetting and I think very unfair to us."

"I'd like to close this book," she said. "We feel (Davis is) guilty. The evidence and everything that we have seen - that I have seen , because I’ve been to all the trials - he is guilty, and I believe in that. And so does the rest of my family.”

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 8:10 p.m.] The time that the U.S. Supreme Court is taking to rule on Davis' motion for a stay of execution is unusual, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. "Usually, it’s handled pretty promptly," Toobin said.

Davis' lawyers filed the motion at about 6 p.m., an hour before Davis' scheduled execution. The state attorney general's office filed a response shortly afterward.

The two hours that the court has had the motion is "not a long time, but it's long enough for (the nine justices) to respond and say, 'Go ahead,'" Toobin said. "So it does suggest that they’re taking this seriously, and there may be some disagreement.”

[Updated at 7:43 p.m.] After a brief moment of jubilation upon hearing that the execution hasn't yet happened, Davis' supporters - who have gathered outside the grounds of the prison where he is being held - are regrouping and talking about what might be next, CNN's Emma Lacey-Bordeaux reports. "Troy Davis can never die" is a common theme.

The state of Georgia isn't proceeding with the execution until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Davis' request for a stay. Davis' attorneys filed the request about an hour before Davis' scheduled 7 p.m. execution.

Davis' supporters, who had been chanting, are now letting out cheers as drivers pass and honk their horns. Otherwise, the mood is tense as they wait for a development, Lacey-Bordeaux reports.

[Updated at 7:26 p.m.] The state of Georgia hasn't yet proceeded with the execution of Troy Davis, because it is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on his request for a stay, CNN's Bill Mears reports.

Davis had been scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. ET. His attorneys filed a motion asking the Supreme Court for a stay about an hour before the scheduled execution time.

[Updated at 7:06 p.m.] Inside the grounds of the prison where Davis is scheduled to be executed, about 100 people, including Davis' sister, have formed a tight circle and are praying and singing, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports.

[Updated at 6:32 p.m.] Davis' attorneys have filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking for a stay of execution, the court has said. No decision yet.

[Updated at 6:28 p.m.] Earlier, this blog mentioned a protest outside the White House against Troy Davis' scheduled execution. Here is video of the protest:

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 6:20 p.m.] CNN's David Mattingly notes that according to the state Department of Corrections' schedule, Davis would have been offered a mild sedative, to calm his nerves, at 6 p.m.

[Updated at 5:58 p.m.] Davis' supporters outside the Jackson, Georgia, prison where he is to be executed are growing louder, CNN's David Mattingly reports. Frequent chants include: "Death Row? Hell No!" and "Free Troy Davis."

[Updated at 5:54 p.m.] CNN's David Mattingly notes that Davis, who had been scheduled for execution three previous times, "has never been as close to dying as he is at this hour." A previous scheduled execution was called off more than two hours before it was to happen; this time, Davis is a little more than an hour from the scheduled time.

"He has already said goodbye to friends and family visiting today," Mattingly writes. "He's been served his last meal. Everyone is waiting to see if a last-minute appeal now working it's way up the legal system might somehow stop or delay Troy Davis' pending appointment with lethal injection."

[Updated at 5:41 p.m.] The Georgia Supreme Court says it has unanimously denied a stay of execution for Troy Davis.

The court also denied his request for another appeal to be heard.

His attorneys will now ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution - Davis' last hope, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

"The United States Supreme Court has a procedure in place. They know when executions are coming; they are expecting an application, so I expect this will be acted on fairly quickly. ... It’s unlikely that a stay will be granted, but that possibility exists, and that’s Troy Davis’ only hope," Toobin said.

[Updated at 4:33 p.m.] With one eye on the clock, celebrity supporters of Troy Davis are using their platforms to continue to spread the word about the Georgia inmate.

[Updated at 4:31 p.m.] A Butts County Superior Court judge has declined to halt the execution of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Davis’ attorney Brian Kammer tells CNN the appeal is now being brought before the Georgia Supreme Court.

[Updated at 4:14 p.m.] Davis saw 25 visitors Wednesday during the six-hour window (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) he was allowed to receive them before his scheduled 7 p.m. execution, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

The visitors included relatives, friends, clergy and an attorney.

[Updated at 3:06 p.m.] A look at Davis' schedule today at the Jackson, Georgia, prison where he is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m., from CNN's John Murgatroyd:

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Visitation with family, friends, clergy and/or attorneys.

3 p.m.: Will undergo a physical.

4 p.m.: Last meal offered.

5 p.m.: Opportunity to record final statement.

6 p.m.: An optional sedative will be offered.

[Updated at 3:02 p.m.]  About 100 people have gathered outside the White House in Washington, D.C., protesting Davis' scheduled execution in Georgia. The crowd consists mostly of students from Washington's Howard University, CNN's Lesa Jansen and Bob Kovach report.

One of the protesters, Howard graduate student Tamatha Scott, said in a CNN iReport video that the students marched from Howard to the White House, responding to student leaders' call to protest on Twitter.

“I started seeing the tweets about it late last night. It has been a very peaceful protest,” Scott said.

CNN's Lesa Jansen took this photo of the protest:

[Updated at 2:38 p.m.] An example of the high-profile support that Davis has received: Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, posted the following to his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon:

"The State should not be executing Troy Davis. . . if there is even a chance that he is innocent, why execute?"

Davis has gained international support. Public figures including Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, entertainers such as Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte and the Indigo Girls, and others have joined with Amnesty International, the NAACP and other groups in supporting Davis' efforts to be exonerated. On Wednesday, the French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it "deeply regrets" the parole board's decision.

[Updated at 2:32 p.m.] Outside the Jackson, Georgia, prison where Davis is to be executed at 7 p.m., many of the speakers have struck hopeful notes, and some say they hope to change the system for the future, CNN's Emma Lacey-Bordeaux reports.

Many are holding hand-lettered signs, with messages such as, "Spare Troy Davis." Some have produced signs showing Davis' picture and the message, "NAACP says too much doubt."

One of the signs carried outside the Jackson prison refers to the NAACP's stance.

[Updated at 1:34 p.m.] Dozens of people have already gathered at the prison in Jackson, Georgia, where Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reported.

People gather Wednesday outside the prison in Jackson, Georgia, where Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is among those at the site.

The group is praying and holding hands, Valdes reported.

[Updated at 1:28 a.m. ET]  The Georgia Department of Corrections told CNN it has denied a request by Troy Davis' lawyers to conduct a polygraph test.

[Updated at 10:16 a.m. ET] The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has declined to reconsider its decision denying clemency to Troy Davis.

Supporters of Davis have been hoping that some last-ditch efforts might help save him from being executed on Wednesday night. Earlier Wednesday, his team filed an appeal asking to stay his execution.

[Posted at 9:13 a.m. ET] Attorneys for Troy Davis, facing execution in Georgia at 7 p.m. Wednesday, have filed a request to stay his execution in Butts County Superior Court.

Davis is scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday night in Jackson, Georgia, for the 1989 shooting death of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail.

The parole board declined to grant Davis clemency Tuesday following a hearing Monday in which it heard testimony calling into question physical evidence and witness statements that a Chatham County jury relied on in convicting Davis in 1991. In Georgia, only the board - not the governor - has the right to grant clemency.

Since Davis' conviction, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Davis' supporters say the original witnesses were fearful of police and spoke under duress.

Other witnesses also have since come forward with accounts that call Davis' conviction into question, according to his supporters.

soundoff (5,817 Responses)
  1. Alicia Welsh

    I'm sorry, but why has Troy Davis's execution become such an issue??? Why is HE so special??? He can't prove his innocence so therefore, he is guilty as charged by a jury of his peers. The State of Georgia has supported him for 20+ years. It's his time. He did the crime & should pay for it. I'm so tired of these 'do-gooders.' Yes, I am FOR the Death Pealty. Having worked on Death Row for the IL Dept of Corrections taught me many lessons b/4 Ryan put a moritorium on the Death Penalty and sentenced them to a lesser degree or turned them loose. I just do not understand the uproar over this 'special' case. I now live in Texas and we tried 'em & fry 'em. Tonight, another one is going to be gone. I love the Great State of Texas!!!!

    September 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Accipiter

      Alicia – I hope that you find healing for all the hatred, fear, and vengeance in your heart.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DanB

      You can love Texas all you like but you do realize this case is in Georgia don't you?

      September 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • STFU

      Texas is the most racist state in America

      September 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denise

      please don't breed

      September 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      "He can't prove his innocence"

      What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

      September 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJ


      September 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justice

      Finish him off. Its all about Justice

      September 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derrique Stuckey

      Agreed. This person was tried, convicted, and deserves what's coming to him. People are treating it like Rodney King all over again. I hate to say it, but I will. People are treating this differently, because he's black. It's fairly obvious, even to the untrained eye. Let justice be served, so we can get on with the REAL news.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derrique Stuckey

      Perhaps Obama will propose an "Execution Summit"? Davis and the wardens can join him for beers, while the President chastises the wardens for oppressing a black man. Lol.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Accipiter

    Please, please, please do not rush into taking away a living, breathing, conscious and willing life, because it cannot be restored once removed. There is too much doubt in this case. Let the truth come forward, take more time. If the truth ends up being that this man is innocent, then how would you feel if you were responsible for his murder?

    September 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. true justice

    Affirmative action we can believe in. Planned Parenthood removes 60 % of the problem so we need to take care of the rest of these leaches. Hopefully justice is now complete

    September 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sonia

    Live by the gun, die by lethal injection. The guy is guilty.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Matt

    Great coverage CNN. an update every half hour, nice

    September 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ghandi

    Hang him, he is guilty as sin its self. He shot a guy in the face before he killed that cop. An eye for an eye. Kill him

    September 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Might want a doctor to take a look at that bleeding heart

    Short of a pardon or a last second Supreme Court intervention, this is said and done. Seriously, this story has been spun by CNN the way Fox does anything else. Shameful.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. heechulswife

    Goodness sakes people! read my whole post before you reply. Otherwise it makes you look stupid! For the second time I said....."For the people pulling the race card crap... Check the news before you talk about some black guy being put to death for killing one person. In Texas tonight, there is a white guy being put to death for the death of a black man. Notice nobody's there pulling the race crap. Which is all it is.... crap. Get it together people. If he's guilty of murder, he deserves what he gets. If he isn't, then he should be spared. Go protest at the other guy's exeocution.... Wouldn't have much to say because he's white huh? " FOR THE PEOPLE PULLING THE RACE CARD... IF HE'S GUILTY OF MURDER, HE DESERVES WHAT HE GETS. IF HE ISNT, HE SHOULD BE SPARED. duh. Read people... I'm not talking about the dumb exocution. I'm talking about the whole race crap people are saying... "He's only going through this because he's black"

    September 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sassy

      I don't think it's the race card in court, I believe when you are poor and cannot afford legal counsel and receive the court appointed attorney you receive sub par services. That's all.. Be blessed

      September 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andre from Austin

      I dont think the issue is so much about race but about him being killed in general. Im all for keeping this man in prison, but to actually kill a man. black or white, no one should die after commiting murder. to me, thats letting them off to easy. let him spend the rest of his days behind bars.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wendy

    No comment on the blog for over 20 minutes. In this kind of situation that is ridiculous.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JAT

    Poor man looks like being right and not making mistakes is more important than actually reviewing the case and letting justice prevail. This why I hate the south! No understanding!

    September 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. zyaijah

    you people are crazy you are killing something that god has made if he did not kill that police officer why bring it up you know who ever gives him that medicine will regret it and if i had i chance i would go to the funeral i am so sad for that poor man you people are crazy and where is obama why is he not in the situation he needs to stop playing golf all his life and save people life if i was president i would be right there on the case and people make up your mind did he or did he not oh and it is not fair plenty of people kill police officer and they did not die so why kill someone who did not do it but not kill someone who did

    September 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derrique Stuckey

      I accidentally stepped on a spider today. God made that, too. Am I now doomed to eternal damnation? Lol.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Christopher

    Everybody pray.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud Democrat

      Oh Lord... kill this killer slowly. Amen.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Really

    First off, he never confessed to the crime, he pled innocence.

    With no DNA evidence linking him to the crime, and the new evidence of 7 of the 9 original witnesses recanting part or all of their statements – some alleging police coercion or even naming one of the other witnesses as the killer – how can you execute him without a retrial?

    September 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • research

      He did confess. He later recanted, but he confessed and walked the police through his entire evening of terror. Shooting into a party full of people, shooting another man in the face, beating the homeless guy for a beer, and shooting the cop. 20 minutes of research would change your mind on this case, it did for me.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • research

      Also, no witnesses recanted ALL of their testimony. In fact only a couple recanted anything that would have been considered "evidence", it was mainly logistics (I was standing here not there, I was not inside i was outside. The casings found at the scene of the shootings he admitted too were the same brand and caliber as the bullets used to kill the cop. Again, read more than CNN and Indigo Girl tweets for your information.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sunny lovetts

    You are all sick in the mind and most of you are rotting inside because of it.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. stevenabb

    Fox news is reporting "US Supreme Court Rejects "... They are juicing up that dog now 🙂 BYE BYE COP KILLER !!!!

    September 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mountaineer

      You're an animal. There IS a reasonable doubt that Troy was the murderer. Life in prison is better than even the chance of killing an innocent man.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      This is a really disgusting comment.

      You don't know if he's innocent or guilty, and so cheering for his death is repulsive.

      If he's innocent, let him go. If there are serious questions about his guilt, look at the evidence again. If there isn't, then execute him.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Weatherbrain

      i hope you are right he should have fried 20 years ago.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      No there isn't reasonable doubt. He was found guilty and over the years people forget things. His defense team is trying to use that to get him off but those people knew he did it when they testified. He will be in hell soon Thank God!

      September 21, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • D2797

      Agree 100%, Mountaineer. stevenabb is an ignorant monster and I doubt he would be this obnoxiously excited for an execution if MacPhail was a truck driver rather than a police officer. Apparently stevenabb can easily deduce a person's value and right to life based on occupation alone. Troy Davis may be guilty, but no person should ever have to prove their innocence to live. There is doubt.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175